On September 26, 2019, the Navajo Times featured an article on the front page entitled, “Nation’s first hemp dispensary to open Oct. 5.” The article referred to the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (“NAPI”) Farm as a potential location for a lease with the Native American Agriculture Company to grow hemp. It is NAPI’s position that growing hemp on the Navajo Nation is illegal.
NAPI was advised by its oversight, the Resources and Development Committee of the 24th Navajo Nation Council, that the Council has not granted anyone with exclusive rights to grow or cultivate hemp on the Navajo Nation. New Mexico State University and NAPI are the only entities that are authorized to grow hemp on the Navajo Nation pursuant to Resolution No. CJN-24-19 approved on June 5, 2019. Resolution No. CJN-24-19 authorized a hemp pilot research project between NAPI and New Mexico State University under the 2014 Farm Bill.
Although the 2018 Farm Bill established a pathway for federal recognized Tribes to regulate the growth and cultivation of hemp within their respective jurisdictions, the Navajo Nation has not adopted regulations to permit the growth or cultivation of hemp on the Navajo Nation. Therefore, NAPI does not intend to grow or cultivate hemp beyond the hemp pilot research project or lease out land on the NAPI Farm for such purposes until the Navajo Nation Council authorizes such activities on the Navajo Nation.
NAPI’s position is further supported by President Jonathan Nez as expressed in a Navajo Times article featured on the front page issued on October 3, 2019, confirming that it is not legal to grow or cultivate hemp on the Navajo Nation.
NAPI is a wholly owned enterprise of the Navajo Nation charged with operating and managing a commercial farm on land held in trust by the United States for the Navajo Nation under legislation authorizing the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project (“NIIP”).